Smithsonian exhibit tells story of U.S. military mail

Mail Call, a Smithsonian exhibit on display at the University of North Georgia (UNG), is exploring the role mail has played in maintaining troop morale from the Revolutionary War to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Correspondence from home remains an important connection for deployed military personnel, said Deborah Prosser, dean of libraries at UNG, who added communication has changed in recent decades, during which time emails have replaced handwritten letters.

“Mail Call is relevant to the UNG as a senior military college and institution serving a veteran student population,” said Prosser. “The exhibition also provides the libraries with the opportunity to showcase little-seen letters in our special collections. Mail Call documents the importance of letters from home to service men and women on the front lines of America’s wars. It has wide appeal because it speaks to the human need to stay connected with loved ones in times of strife.”

In addition to the changing format of mail, Prosser said the complexity of delivering mail securely in extreme conditions is detailed in an interactive exhibit including photographs, original documents, illustrations and audio.

The permanent exhibit is on display at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C., but the traveling Mail Call exhibit will only be open until April 23 at the Library Technology Center on UNG’s Dahlonega Campus.


On April 14, there will be a panel discussion addressing the experience of receiving mail from the home front while participating in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Kristin G. Kelly of UNG’s Department of English will moderate the discussion with veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Reading Home: Letters from Iraq and Afghanistan” will take place in the Nesbitt Building on UNG’s Gainesville Campus from 6 p.m.-7 p.m.

To watch a video about the UNG exhibit, click here.

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